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Meat-free is murder, at least when it comes to creating new dishes. There are some great vegetarian dishes out there, and even whole cuisines that get by with little more than plant life. But to come up with something fresh, British, and that also actually celebrates the best that nature has to offer… that’s a little trickier.

Here’s the first execution of an idea that’s been evolving for a good while now. Initial inspiration came from the mushroom soil I first developed for restaurant allium’s rabbit in hedgerow dish. A variation of that recipe with the addition of black pudding would have been wonderful, but was clearly out of the question.

The next obvious step was to use the soil to ‘plant’ some veg, without simply aping Noma’s potato field (though that one does, at least, utilise a rather different take on edible dirt). Something in tribute to the classic British greenhouse was the obvious answer. But by chance that idea got turned, not on its head, but sideways. What if the greenhouse glass was instead a window offering a view below ground?

With each vegetable individually cooked – baked Shetland Black potato, baby carrot and quick-pickled beetroot are the stars in this version – and carefully placed inside the soil, the dish is then garnished with borage, flowering chive and micro-pea shoots. The final structure is fronted with an edible, tomato-flavoured wafer. Smash glass in case of vegetable-craving emergency…

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Scribbling, ponderings, and maybe a little food porn…

by Mark Ramshaw

owner at feast for the senses
food design, private catering, consultancy

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